Left gradient
Students learning
announcements ANNOUNCEMENTS


Study Skills - Notetaking

The 5 Rs of Note-taking (college of the canyons)
The Counseling Department at College of the Canyons recommends that students use a modified version of the Cornell Note-Taking method. To use this note-taking method, the student divides the page into 3 sections:


During a lecture, stay focused, listen attentively to the lecture, and take notes. Do not just listen! Try to write down as many meaningful ideas and facts as possible on the right hand side of the page. If you miss a word, just insert a ________ and keep writing. After class when you review your notes, you can check the textbook or other resources and check with other students in the class to fill in the blanks. If something the instructor says is confusing, put an * next to it so you know to ask for clarification about the point later. Taking notes keeps the mind focused so the information is received by the brain and registers in short-term memory instead of just passing through. Avoid all interruptions such as music, text messages, and daydreaming.


After class, write questions in the left hand column that go along with the notes on the right. Think of What, Who, Where, When, How, and Why, questions. When it’s time to study your notes, cover up the note section of the page and quiz yourself using the questions you wrote in the left column. You may also write key words for important concepts on the left hand side of the page. This rehearsal strategy helps you work with the information in your short-term working memory.


Now cover the notes, and use the key words and questions as cues to help you recall the different points in the notes. Recite the answers to the questions and explain the key words. Then uncover your notes to check if the information you recalled is correct. This strategy is a rehearsal strategy that helps you work with the information in your short-term working memory. The longer and more frequently you work with the information by answering the questions and recalling the notes, the longer the information stays in working memory.


At the bottom of the page, write 3 to 7 sentences summarizing in your own words what the notes on the page say. Explain the main point or points as if you had to teach someone else. Use key words, be concise, and clarify. Assign meaning to the information by stating how it is of value to you, why you need to know this, and if this information reminds you of any prior learning. These elaboration strategies help to transfer information in the brain from short-term to long-term memory.


Review Cornell notes frequently to help you work with the information and retain the information. The more frequently you work with information the longer the information will remain in store so you can retrieve it on the day of a test.




More about Note-Taking

To store information long-term in the brain, you can use additional elaboration strategies that make you THINK about the information. You can expand your knowledge and understanding of the material presented in a lecture or in a textbook by asking and answering further critical thinking questions:

Describe _________________________________________________________________________.

What is the relation between ________________________ and _____________________________?

How does _____________________________________ impact _____________________________?

What is the effect of ________________________________________________________________?

What if __________________________________________________________________________?

What is the importance of ___________________________________________________________?

Compare ______________________________________ and ______________________________.

Contrast ______________________________________and _______________________________.

Thinking about information will help you store information in long-term memory so that you can retrieve it not
just on the day of a test but at the end of the semester or for the next level of the course.


Back to Counseling Home Page

Gradient right  
    Phone: (510) 723-6600 | Last updated on 4/25/2013